Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Militarization of Local Police, a dangerous game

Today I came across the article, "Your Local Police Force Has Been Militarized", which in turn pointed me to Radley Balko’s “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America” (Cato Institute, 2006). A report detailing the unnecessary and excessive militarization of local police units in the United States. The report also provides an extensive catalogue of abuses and mistaken raids, and offers recommendations for reform.

Today 17,000 local police forces have military equipment like Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear and armored vehicle. In 1999, the New York Times reported that a retired police chief in New Haven, Connecticut, told the newspaper, “I was offered tanks, bazookas, anything I wanted.”

According to Pentagon data obtained by the Associated Press, some 16,000 law enforcement agencies obtained more than 380,000 pieces of equipment from military surplus worth $124 million in fiscal 2005. (Homeland Stupidity)

See an interactive map of 'Botched Paramilitary Police Raids'

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